ST. LOUIS -- Saint Louis head softball coach Christy Connoyer has announced the signing of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to attend the University and play for the Billikens beginning next fall.
The new Billikens are pitcher/first baseman Kaili Hanner (Taylor Springs, Ill./Hillsboro H.S.), outfielder/first baseman/catcher Cami Newbanks (Oreana, Ill./Argenta-Oreana H.S.) and infielder Kayla Swiderski (St. Louis, Mo./Lindbergh H.S.).
Kaili Hanner • P/1B • Taylor Springs, Ill. (Hillsboro H.S./Premier Fastpitch 18)
Earned first-team All-Conference honors and collected her third team Most Valuable Player award as a junior last spring … went 11-4 with a 1.28 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 109 innings … at the plate, posted a .411 batting average, led the team with 23 RBIs and scored 20 runs … turned in a 15-6 record and 170 strikeouts for her travel team, Premier Fastpitch 18 … helped lead the 2018 squad to ninth place in the USA Junior Olympic Cup, ninth place at the PGF Premier Nationals and 12th place at TCS Nationals, and the 2017 team to the Colorado Fireworks title … carries a grade point average above 4.0 … honor roll student and National Honor Society member.
Connoyer on Hanner: "We are excited to have Kai join our pitching staff. She brings ‘it,’ a competitive drive every time she steps in the circle. She wants the ball and has quality experience in the summer circuit competing at a high level all over the country. Kai’s movement pitches are tough to hit, and she will challenge hitters throughout their at-bats. She will be a great asset to our pitching arsenal.”
Cami Newbanks • OF/1B/C • Oreana, Ill. (Argenta-Oreana H.S./Premier Fastpitch 18)
Helped lead Argenta-Oreana to a third-place finish in the 2018 Illinois Class 1A state tournament … earned first-team All-State and first-team All-Conference plaudits, batting .670 with five home runs, school records of 55 RBIs and 28 extra-base hits, and a 1.072 slugging percentage … posted a .381 batting average, a .965 OPS and 52 RBIs for her travel team, Premier Fastpitch 18 … helped lead the 2018 squad to ninth place in the USA Junior Olympic Cup, ninth place at the PGF Premier Nationals and 12th place at TCS Nationals, and the 2017 team to the Colorado Fireworks title … four-year letter winner and first-team All-Conference performer in volleyball and basketball as well as softball … named Argenta-Oreana’s 2018 ESPNDecatur ESPY Female Athlete of the Year … National Honor Society member … has made the high honor roll continuously since her 6th-grade year.
Connoyer on Newbanks: "Cami is such a versatile athlete with the ability to catch, play the outfield and play first base. A strong, athletic lefty, she is smooth on defense and a true offensive threat. Cami’s energy, excitement and enthusiasm for the game are evident in the way she plays, and that passion will fit in well with our program’s culture. We are thrilled to have her on board to help us contend for championships.”
Kayla Swiderski • IF • St. Louis, Mo. (Lindbergh H.S./Louisville Lady Sluggers)
Has garnered second-team All-State accolades twice, first-team All-Region honors three times and first-team All-District laurels four times … also has made the All-Metro third team and the All-Conference second team … a starter at shortstop and team captain all four years … owns Lindbergh’s career record for RBIs (128) and ranks second on the Flyers’ career lists in batting average (.466) and hits (149) … was selected Lindbergh’s 2016 Most Valuable Player and received the 2017 team’s Flyer Award for Leadership … plays travel ball for the Louisville Lady Sluggers … also is a YMCA regional swimming champion in the 100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke … four-time Lindbergh Renaissance Platinum Award recipient (GPA of 4.0 or higher), four-time member of the All-State Academic Honor Roll, National Honor Society member and the Sunset Hills Chamber of Commerce Student of the Year.
Connoyer on Swiderski: “Strong bat, solid defender, team player – those are characteristics that excite us about Kayla’s future as a Billiken. She is a lefty gap-to-gap hitter as well as a power hitter, and she has an ability to drive in runs and perform in the clutch. Kayla is a student of the game and enjoys every minute she is competing. She has defensive awareness and plays with a competitive desire that has allowed her to improve her game year in and year out.”